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Tractor questions

Discussion in 'Large Equipment' started by Saiso, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Hello guys!
    So my wife and I have been talking a lot and she warmed up to the fact that we may be able to buy our first piece of equipment next summer/fall perhaps. We own 100+ acres of timber land and also have long driveways that we currently pay to get cleaned.

    I’ve been wanting a tractor ever since I moved to the country from the city. Here’s our situation.

    Hopefully with my OT money from work, selling a little bit of saw logs to our local mill and the extra money my wife can make after taking care of our kids, we plan to buy a tractor. Unfortunately we don’t make a lot of money and we are planning on building our off grid homestead for the summer of 2020, it’ll probably come down to a couple options.

    1- Find a decent old tractor hopefully locally with a loader and snowblower, then go to the bank to ask for a loan for the difference in what we saved and the price of tractor.

    2- Same idea, with our saved money, go to our local tractor dealers and finance a new tractor with a down payment of what ever we save.

    I’m leaning towards option 1 for mainly one reason, because I don’t think we can afford paying monthly for a new tractor once we mortgage for the house. That being said, back to the old tractor. That’s 100% fine with. Then, can we afford a bigger tractor knowing we also have to pay per month to pay the small loan? If not, that goes to a small no cab tractor. Or a homemade cab.

    Are they good tractors for firewood/homesteading? I know it gets the job done most of the time, but I’m trying to see what’s more cost effective for us. We live in northern Canada and it gets very cold and very windy. If we end up getting a smaller no cab (like the old Masseys/International), how much do homemade cabs generally cost to make? Does it involve welding or simply drilling

    So I guess what this comes down to is, realistically we could probably buy cash a small no cab tractor. Probably not a larger one. Maybe not be able to pay the loan once we build our house either. Should we wait out possibly another winter and try saving more to pay cash a larger one the summer we build? Or would a good no cab tractor (I’d make a homemade one if it doesn’t have one already) handle and do everything we need with ease? Haul some firewood/tree lengths. Maybe haul a small load of logs to our local mill. Snow blow 500 meters of trail in the woods, etc. How many HP’s should I be looking for? Minimum?

    Also, if you could post pictures and stories of your smaller no cab or homemade cab tractors, that would be awesome. The more I wrote this post, the more I kinda want a smaller tractor with a homemade cab if it cuts the price in half (10-15k larger tractor / 5-8k smaller tractor)

    Edit: just checked prices on Kijiji, yeah, most bigger tractors are 8-15k and smaller ones are 5-10. So really, it’ll all depend how much we can save and how much we have to loan for the difference.

    I guess I’m chatty today..
    Thanks a million!
     
  2. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The firewood tractor thread has a ton of stories. Budget dictates a lot. Stay away from obsolete stuff. Even tie rod ends for my Minneapolis-Moline are unobtatium. Basic farm-utility 45-ish HP, Torq, PS, 3pt, live pto and hydraulics. Value ballpark $3,500-ish.

    20170511_123928-1024x768_zpsbjoxpcge.jpg
     
  3. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Yeah, I’ve been eyeing that thread a lot. That month, when I first stumbled on this site, I used all of our data 19 days too early... mainly because of that thread :surprised3:

    You have a nice little tractor. See, that and a little more expensive I could justify spending the cash. Is any repair hard? Do you do it yourself? I’m not mechanically inclined but wanting to learn, and have close friends that are good with this stuff.
     
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  4. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I really like it but it's gonna need to be split some day to get the starter ring gear reworked or replaced. Other maintenance has been minimal. More of a collector item these days.

    To get into a better setup ya almost have to look at mfwd New holland, Case/Massey, Kubota or Mahindra in 60HP range.
     
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  5. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Matt, I'm glad to see you diving right into both the tractor and chainsaw rabbit holes with both feet. They're both big subjects!

    There's lots of considerations here. Tractors vary greatly in power, weight, size, tire size and configuration, drive/transmission type, hydraulic capability, safety features, parts availability and so forth.

    I'd first start with a realistic description of what your use will be. You mention logging, so knowing how large the trees you'd like to skid are would be helpful. Also, what's your ground like, is it hilly, muddy etc? You mention a snowblower. Is that what people commonly use in your area? Around here, you'll see them, but it's usually not people's only method of snow removal. They're great for snow events over 6 inches and for moving banks, but they're considerably slower than a blade for small snowfalls. They're also more expensive and complicated. A snowblower also requires a relatively low reverse gear. Lots of older tractors only offered 1-3 reverse gears, sometimes it'll be slow enough, sometimes those gears are too fast. A tractor with live power (PTO keeps spinning when you put the clutch in and stop moving) is almost a necessity for a snowblower also, though that's a dammed good feature anyway, and you should try to find a tractor with live power if you're doing anything using the PTO.

    I can't have a conversion about tractor logging without saying right away how dangerous it is. Especially for guys working alone with equipment that may not be ideal. Guys like us with young kids need to be particularly careful about doing risky behavior like what we're talking about. To that end, my main considerations personally would be to 1, buy a tractor with a roll bar aka ROPS. Even better would be a well built cab or a Falling Object Protection System or FOPS (not real common, but can be built). And 2, budget for a logging winch. No they aren't cheap, but they make your job much safer. Beyond that they protect the tractor by allowing it to stay on the established trails instead of driving into the slash, and they dramatically increase your efficiency and productivity. I'd much rather skimp a little on the tractor, and buy something a little older but have a winch right away. You can always sell a tractor in a few years and buy a different one. With exceptions, tractors don't depreciate in value much, especially older ones. If you start with a $6k tractor, use it for 2-10 years and keep it maintained, it'll be worth $5-8k when you're done with it. A winch will cost $1000-4000 depending on size and the availability of used ones. Seriously worth it though, if for no other reason than safety.


    Looking forward to a good thread here. Enjoy the tractor hunt!
     
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  6. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Hey Ryan!
    We in the Maritimes don’t have big trees like some out West or in the states, but I’m guessing the biggest logs are around 48-54cm DBH. Anything bigger may be our Eastern White Pines and I won’t be cutting those. It’ll mostly be Fir, Spruce, Tamarack and maybe Poplar of that size. Anywhere from 10-48cm DBH mostly for firewood. Red Maple, White Birch, some Sugar Maple. Land here is flat, no rocks, no wet lands, all dry. Good trail system already. Plan on building more to drive the Tacoma and tractor once we get one. Yes, tractors are commonly used here. Very seldom you see a skid steer, bobcat etc. in someone’s driveway. Might be someone with more money or owns a business of some kind. A lot of people have snowblowers for smaller properties, and regular homeowners have tractors. Most people here don’t clean 5cm or so. And we often have 20cm+ storms. Normally a few 30-50 per year.
     
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  7. Woodchuck71

    Woodchuck71 ArboristSite Member

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    Divide the PAYMENT by hours used per year.
    That being said,I've got 2 older ones.Massey Ferguson and my favorite (by a long way)a 770 Oliver RC model.
    Easy to work on,parts available 5 miles from my house.Used to be a Oliver dealer.
    MPO,stay away from anything if you don't have a dealer close by.
     
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  8. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    770 is a smooth runner! Dad used to collect tractors one of my favorite runners was a clean 70 Ollie. Just a couple JD's and a 22-36 McCormick left. No real value in keeping them but he just couldn't let go of everything.
     
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  9. Jed1124

    Jed1124 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If your plan is homesteading off the grid and not working away from home the best piece of advice I can give you is stay away from borrowing money.....period. Not sure of your circumstances though.
    You would be amazed what an old 2wd tractor can do with filled tires and chains.
     
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  10. Woodchuck71

    Woodchuck71 ArboristSite Member

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    Clutch went out on the 770,I think they where way ahead of the competition in manufacturing.NO splitting case!
    OP,of you're planning on hauling trailer loads of wood to the mill,depending how big trailer is,and WEIGHT ,you may need a BIG tractor.It's the stopping,not the going,as you surely know.
    Shorter wheelbase, easier in the timber.
    Longer wheelbase more stable.
     
  11. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Most of the "legacy" tractor brands are pretty good for parts support. Deere, Case, International, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Kubota. That said, there are some models strewn about in there that are very difficult to get parts for. Probably all of those brands above sold tractors that were made by someone else. Massey for example sold some tractors made by Hinomoto that are pretty difficult to get parts for. Older tractors can be a great value, and there are some real gems out there. Starting in the 60s, they were making machines that were designed to last a really long time and can still do what you want to do around your place. That said, you kinda need to check each model that you're interested in and see who made it, and how well regarded they are. You will pay a little more for a tractor with a good reputation, but it's worth it both in ease of repair and future resale value. Figure out what dealers are in business within a reasonable drive and go from there.

    Working on older machines is pretty easy, especially if you find something that is common. You will have to decide whether to look for a gas or diesel rig. Gas tractors tend to be cheaper to buy, and they start easier in cold weather. Newer diesel stuff starts pretty well too, but if you're talking about older iron, the diesels can be cold blooded. A block heater will be a big help either way. Diesels will be more fuel efficient, and it's nice not having to mess with a carb or any spark issues. Most of the engines you see in tractors are designed to work for thousands of hours and to be rebuildable.

    Of course you also mentioned the new option, which i think can be a very good option also. Of course you shouldn't put yourself in a risky financial situation, but some tractor companies are running very cheap financing options. I know Kubota for example has been doing 0% financing for 84 months or something like that. Perhaps it's different in Canada, but in some situations, it may be better to use your cash elsewhere.
     
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  12. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Good read! Thanks a lot Ryan.

    Yeah, tractor dealers here have deals and sales like that. Cold summer time, I’ll go in and see what they offer. I’m just scared of not being able to afford the monthly payments once we build our house and get a mortgage through the bank. Already I’m not sure how we’re gonna pull it off with income, so I can’t imagine a tractor payment on top of that. Hence why I’d prefer trying to save up some money and buy something cash.
     
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  13. Marshy

    Marshy 285 Killa

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    My thoughts are, figure out what your budget is and get the largest tractor you can afford. Anything less than 30 hp is not something you'll want to leave the yard with. Forget the cab, you'll break the glass once it's in the woods eventually anyways. Quality cold weather clothes are cheaper and you'll need them to be working out in the woods anyways. Although, maybe consider a soft cab. 4x4 is very helpful but not necessary. Rear wheel chains are extremely useful but not cheap. AG tires are a must IMO. No matter what tractor you get you'll always find it's too small eventually.
     
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  14. Woodchuck71

    Woodchuck71 ArboristSite Member

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    Go to tractor Mike on YouTube. He answers a lot of questions for tractor owners.
    IMHO,if you decide to buy a compact or utility tractor,of a newer generation, MAY be better off buying a 4wd or FWA.
    Seems like the smaller ones without it don't have the weight needed,you put a loader on front,take more weight of the back and becomes pretty useless.
    Buddy bought some red model,30 some hp or so,and the weight of the whole machine is too light to do any serious work.
    I'd put money the minniemo in above post,with chains will out work the newer compacts any day of the week.MY guess is probably around 7500lbs?
    Another thing to keep in mind,don't know about Canada,but down here,after a certain HP (?),they have to have DEF,as I was told.
    My experience with DEF is not favorable in my semi.
    If those computers don't communicate with each other,you have a paperweight...
     
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  15. catbuster

    catbuster Catskinner. And buster.

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    Looking at a different route-I’d look just as much at a 4x4 backhoe or a small dozer/track loader if I was on timberlands and was mostly looking to take care of driveways and handle logs. Eventually you’ll have drainage ditches and stiff to work on, and you’ll be be better off to do dirt work with any of the above. I might even look at a skid steer loader.

    Plenty of good options there. Case backhoes are pretty much king for digging but John Deere do a much better job pushing or digging with the front end loader. Caterpillar machines have historically been very strong and very fast but hard to control since the B series.

    For dozers/track loaders... Unless you go really old anything from Cat will be really expensive compared to other machines. I ran Cat 931s and they were a sweet machine for property maintenance, big enough to move some bigger stuff around but not big enough to not be nimble in the woods. The Case machines are very good as well, as are John Deere’s machines.

    Parts are pretty easy to come by for any machine made since 1980 from Case or John Deere. Parts can be had, albeit at a higher price, for almost any Cat machine from any time.

    If I was using a tractor, I’d look for something with a larger frame, 4x4, a loader and at least 60 HP. One of my favorite smaller (mind you, big tractors to me are over 100 HP and can be set up with rear duals) is a John Deere 2555. 77 HP, nimble, but really easy to work on. I also really like the early 6000 series deeres (6x00/6x10/6x20/6x30) for the same reason. I ran a New Holland TD75 which was a great little tractor as well.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  16. sixonetonoffun

    sixonetonoffun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    IH 666 can sometimes be found reasonably. Not popular farming cause its a gas engine but make fantastic loader tractors.
     
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  17. 4seasons

    4seasons ArboristSite Guru

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    No way would I even consider buying a NEW tractor. But I am also a certified shade tree mechanic so broken parts are no big deal for me. Next are you sure a tractor is what you need? If you are doing mostly loader work a skid steer may be a better choice. Dirt moving is a dozer job. A tractor can do both, but not as well. If you want to run stuff like bush hogs, plows, and tillers the tractor is the obvious choice.

    Now I assume you are thinking with budget as a top priority. If you look in the used ads you will find lots of small, old, and oddball tractors.
    If you want to skid logs, move dirt, and used the loader, weight is your friend. Most tractors are sold by PTO HP and generally 30 HP gets to a useable weight if you have 4wd for loader work. Don't go small!
    When I say old I am talking 1970 and back. Stuff like Ford 9n do not have stuff like a 2 stage clutch and other modern features you will want. By the late 70's you are going to find features like power steering as standard equipment on larger tractors. However once you get into 2010 and newer, the EPA started forcing lot's of expensive and useless crap on tractors.
    Any major manufacturer makes a decent tractor and some bad models as well. Read up on any model you are looking at to make sure you aren't getting a lemon. Case, Ford, Kobuta, MF, JD and some I am forgetting are the ones to look for. Stay away from the Chinese stuff that sells for cheap. There are some "grey model" tractors that are shipped in from Japan that are good tractors. Most however are small and have some odd things like a multiple speed PTO and the throttle is backwards, but don't avoid something like Yanmar (I have a small one) just because there are no dealerships in your area.

    One last thing; try to get all the attachments you can when you are buying from an individual. A backhoe and front end loader are very expensive to add to your tractor later.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
     
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  18. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Really informative. Thank you very much! :)
     
  19. Huskybill

    Huskybill Addicted to ArboristSite

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    This might help you look, they have listings for canada too.

    http://www.tractorshed.com/cgi-bin/photoads/classifieds.cgi

    A 4x4 is the way to go.
    A 2wd plan on weights and heavy duty tire chains.
    Get the 3pt hitch if no backhoe.

    I push dirt with a ‘55 Willy’s cj5 75hp with no body just a seat and a 4 way plow. It came with a winch and crane the oldman pulled trees out of the woods. I boxed the frame with 3/8” plate. I installed two loc rite lockers in the diffs. Add four sets of ice link chains she’ll go anywhere. It’s not a dozer but for $400 + $700 for the lockers it’s worth doing. Even a old 4x4 pickup with a plow. For the Jeep tractor it’s a work in progress I have the adapters to put four 8.3x24 ag farmall cub tires on it. I’m looking at a very low geared four speed tranny. I have a mini rock body dump body for the rear. What I can’t buy I build.

    http://www.tractorshed.com/cgi-bin/gallery/gallery_pic.cgi?pic=http;//www.tractorshed.com/gallery/tphotos/a105949.jpg&firstrec=9&Parameter=Jeep tractor&w=tphotos&cc=1&s=

    http://www.tractorshed.com/cgi-bin/gallery/gallery_pic.cgi?pic=http;//www.tractorshed.com/gallery/tphotos/a105948.jpg&firstrec=9&Parameter=Jeep tractor&w=tphotos&cc=0&s=
     
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  20. Saiso

    Saiso Mountain Ranger

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    Right on! Thank you! :)
     

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